10 ways to put a great candidate off during the recruitment process

10 ways to put a great candidate off during the recruitment process

10 ways to put a great candidate off during the recruitment process

The recruitment process can seem like a long arduous process and to be honest with you this is true. But it’s not just the length of the process that can put candidates off. We’ve compiled a list of ways to put great candidates off, so you don’t make these mistakes.


1)      Lack of communication

Think of it from the candidate’s perspective. You have applied for a job but you don’t know if they actually received your application. Or you have been progressed to the first interview stage and told they would be in touch soon. But when is soon… tomorrow? Next week? In a month?

 Job hunting is stressful at the best of times. When there is little communication for an extended period of time applicants will assume they were unsuccessful and move to another opportunity.


2)      Inappropriate interview questions

If you cast your mind back to the media storm surrounding the inappropriate question Jacinda Ardern was asked literally within a day of getting her recent promotion, then you should understand what I’m getting at. As an employer you really shouldn’t be asking those sort of questions. Surely you saw the backlash from it!


3)      Unauthorised reference checks

According to the Privacy Commissioner, you cannot contact referees that an applicant has not nominated or given you permission to contact. It is unfortunately common practice for hiring managers to do some ‘digging’ and call around for information prior to hiring. Basically, you can’t do this, you can, however, draw your own conclusions if candidates are not willing to consent to you contacting specific people.


4)      Interview process too long

Great candidates aren’t likely to want to sit around while you take months to tick off all your processes. They are likely to either need a job or really want a new one. And the longer your process, the more time you allow for other opportunities to steal your candidates. So start streamlining.


5)      Spelling and grammar in your advert

We expect their applications to be flawless so let’s make sure we’re not the pot calling the kettle black.


6)      Lack of an acknowledgment email

It takes less than 30 seconds to send this sort of email. Most systems can be set up to send automatic responses these days. Resulting in you having little to no excuse for not acknowledging their application. Candidates know this. So the longer it takes you to acknowledge their application the worse they perceive your organisation.


7)      Bad expectation management

This includes everything from your job adverts to how long they should expect until you get in touch again. Be clear about how your process works and give them a firm idea about when they’ll hear from you. If it’s going to be a while, let them know. A great candidate will stick around for the right role if they have been informed on what to expect. If you don’t? Well, they are gone.


8)      Offering an inappropriate salary

Any great candidate knows what they’re worth because they’ve done their research. So offering something outside of the market rate for the position can be insulting and alarming. So keep up to date with the market rates or risk putting off the best talent.


9)      Lack of an online presence for candidates to research

Great candidates do their research about any company they are applying to. In today’s world that means they head to google and if google can’t find you… do you even exist?


10)      Dishonesty

I feel that this one is pretty obvious. No one likes being lied to or feeling played. Great candidates will figure it out in the end. So do your best to be up front and honest throughout the process.


 The best way to prevent making these mistakes is to think about how you’d want or expect to be treated as an applicant and using that as a guide. Doing so will help you stop deterring the best candidates who can improve your business.



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Mike Westbury

Mike owns the business and delivers innovative recruitment campaigns to his clients. He enjoys working in a niche environment where each client's needs can be tailored to. Mike comes from an extensive recruitment and solution selling background, having previously worked for a large global consultancy and a number of New Zealand owned firms. Outside of work, he can be found playing with his two young kids or getting out for a surf or a sail when time allows!

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